Gibson / J-185 / 1951 / Sunburst / Guitar For Sale
Serial number: A-1697. There are many reasons to add a J-185 to your arsenal. For one thing, it has tremendous curb appeal. From the Maltese crosses on the bridge wings, to the parallelograms on the fret board, bound fingerboard, triple bound back and sides, the burst back and sides, and neck, tulip tuners, and inlayed headstock; it’s an impressive package. It is also a versatile guitar, with the spruce top and maple back and sides producing a range of complex tones when played intimately or the characteristic Gibson “bark” when played aggressively. The secret sauce here is to find one with the scalloped, tall top braces from the first four years of production, 1951-1954. Fewer than 600 were produced. This guitar is one of them.
This is an excellent example although it is not without its mysteries. The guitar is very fresh looking for its age. There is playwear around the sound hole through to the wood and a few scratches and dings. There are a few other scratches and one ding but in general the guitar looks much like the pictures. The back of the neck is smooth although there is some finish “burn” on the ninth fret, probably from a stand. The bridge is original and full height, tuners are original and work well. The back has a center seam that I’ve only seen on one other J-185. My sense is that a portion of the back was damaged and rather than replace the entire back, half the original back was saved. It was replaced with maple but clearly not matched. The original kerfling was used and, while there seems to be some extra glue around the rims inside, the bracing is original and correctly replaced. With this one exception, the guitar was well cared for and played regularly.
This is the second time I have owned this J-185. I sold it about eight years ago and bought it again when I saw it in Richard Henry Guitars, the UKs premier guitar shop. It’s had an excellent neck reset since I’ve owned it and possibly a fret job although the frets are 50’s Gibson style – low and squared off. The action is comfortably low and it’s retained its wonderful tone. It has also retained its original case – the brown on brown hard shell Gibson case. It is inscribed by one of the previous owners “In the care and love of Jesus or Lord”. Thanks for reading this far. Please call or email with any questions.
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